Dear Telemarketer, Here’s Why I Hate You

Well, hate is a strong word. I should tone it down to a strong dislike. And I should also clarify that I don’t strongly dislike you personally. I know you are simply doing your job. As a matter of fact, you are likely reading from the script they gave you. When they gave you the number of calls you needed to make daily, you probably said, “WHOA” but, not out loud because you didn’t want to be negative on the first day. You also might be stuck in this mental conflict of having to do the very thing you don’t like being done to you. Believe me, I understand. It’s not fun to be placed in that position.

What your company SHOULD tell you though, is that the people you are dialing, or more correctly, the people the computer is dialing for you are actually…well, you know…people. They have good days and bad days. They like to be listened to. They like being treated as more than a number. They really dislike being thought of as a meal ticket. So, despite what they told you in the 1 day training, the people on the other end are not robots sitting by the phone waiting to be sold to. They are regular folk like you. But let me get back to the subject of you.

I don’t want this to be a letter where I simply rant and bellow. I want to provide some helpful suggestions. I don’t know if they will work for everyone, but they would be helpful to me.

  1. When you call, even if they have given you a script, if you ask a question, please wait for me to answer before moving on into the next line. If you blow past my response, I assume you are an automated call and I am likely to hang up fairly quickly. I’m doing stuff…sort of like you are.
  2. We don’t know each other yet, so when you call, it would be better if you simply let me know up front what you are doing. Are you raising money? Are you selling a trip? Despite what they told you, please don’t tell me I won a free trip if you know later on in the script they ask you to slip in the sales presentation or the $120 processing or hold fee you want me to pay today for this one-time-only offer. Honestly, I get it. Some pretty smart people have done the research and they tell you how the average human will act. Maybe the issue is me. Maybe I’m just not average. As a matter of fact, let’s go with no…no, I’m not. I do my best every day to push past average. So, there you have it. The research was wrong about me.
  3. Please call me from a quiet room. If it sounds like a flea market in the background, I get the feeling I got 15 years ago at the timeshare presentation. Yep, the one where we were herded into a room and they rang a loud cowbell and made everyone cheer when they got another sucker…I mean, another couple to sign on the dotted line. It was pressurized and they were trying to break us like Pavlov’s dogs. Sound the bell. DING! Give ’em a reward. Let them feel like they’re missing out on the bell and applause themselves. So, when I hear the noise in the background, yeah, it reminds of something unpleasant. That’s not a good sign for you. Ok, I know you don’t own the company and you don’t have primo desk choice, but could you at least tell the lady in the background to stop hollering about her lunch order. It’s distracting. Thanks.
  4. Give me an opt-out at the beginning of the call. Instead of launching into the script, causing my blood pressure to rise because I’m in the middle of something and now wondering when you’ll let me get a word in, please simply ask me if I have some time. “Hey Mr. Kennedy. We’re sharing some information about vacations in Las Vegas. Do have about 5 minutes to chat?” You get my permission and the call goes MUCH easier after that. Really it does. If I’m annoyed at your insensitivity right from the beginning, I’m probably not listening to you anymore. And to be honest, if I didn’t think it was extremely rude, I would hang up. I’ve been pushed to the point of saying, “OK, I’m going to hang up now” just as a warning before doing it. I felt bad about it. I really did. But my blood pressure thanked me later in the day. So, I was ok after that.
  5. Please be aware of your call time. I know they give you certain reasonable hours to call. But, in the morning at 8:00 and 34 seconds, I’m still dealing with children, school, and really prepping my day. If I’m not doing that, I’m heading to speak somewhere and chances are I’m not going to answer the phone unless your number looks similar to my wife. Despite what they told you, I’m probably nicest between 12:30pm and 2pm. I’ve had lunch and the kids haven’t come home yet. I’m usually on business calls at that time though. So, hopefully you can get through.

Here’s the long and short of it. I know you have a difficult job. I really do. And, I appreciate that you are doing your best to make it happen instead of slacking off. I do! But, please simply remember I’m a human being with feelings. I’m a communicator. I speak, train or write for a good portion of most days. I’m really particular about how to communicate effectively with others. Maybe I’m more critical about it than some others. So, that might be to your disadvantage. I’m not sure. But, if you must call me, let me hear the smile in your voice, ask your question, then wait to hear what I say. Then we can both make sure it’s a useful conversation.

Does that work?

Looking forward to your next call.



P.S. — By the way, I don’t really hate you. I actually admire that you are doing your job in the way you’ve been taught. I’ve just gotten called by some of the wrong people in your company. Please don’t give them my number anymore. Thanks.

Today is Day 42 of a 12 Week Writing Journey. As part of that, I’m starting a 14 Day Blog Challenge on October 17th. Click below to register for it: